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Stantonsburg council interviews 2 for open seat: Former councilman won’t be considered

Posted 1/24/20

STANTONSBURG — The Stantonsburg Town Council interviewed two candidates to fill a vacant seat during a special meeting Thursday.

Mayor Coley H. Rhodes called the meeting and Commissioners Walter …

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Stantonsburg council interviews 2 for open seat: Former councilman won’t be considered

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STANTONSBURG — The Stantonsburg Town Council interviewed two candidates to fill a vacant seat during a special meeting Thursday.

Mayor Coley H. Rhodes called the meeting and Commissioners Walter Bynum, Ken D. Horne and Jackie Grice, Mayor Pro-tem Donnie Bass, Town Manager Gary Davis and Town Clerk Tabitha Bailey were in attendance.

Rhodes vacated the council seat when she won her bid to serve as Stantonsburg’s mayor.

As instructed on the town website, council candidates Eartha Butler and Ben Harper turned in resumes for the council’s consideration. Powell Dew, a former councilman, was the only audience member to attend the meeting.

Each candidate was sequestered before coming before the council individually to answer the same set of questions.

As he’d done in the council’s Dec. 9 meeting of the board, Horne asked that Dew be considered as a candidate for the vacant seat. Bass supported the idea. Dew lost his seat in the Nov. 5 general election, coming in third with 15% of the vote.

Rhodes said Dew hadn’t declared his interest in the seat to her. He also hadn’t submitted a resume or paperwork to the town. Butler and Harper followed the application guidelines.

“They didn’t just show up. They came to the last meeting. They did the resume process. They have been through the letter process. They have been in touch with me saying that they wanted to have audience with the board. They were on the agenda tonight and Mr. Dew is not. I don’t have a letter from him nor has he spoken to me about any of his intentions about this,” Rhodes said. “We have to stick to the agenda as it’s listed, which is to interview the candidates we received resumes from and a letter stating their intent.”
“I understand that,” Horne said, “and his resume speaks for itself with the years of service that he has.”

“I beg to differ with that,” Rhodes said. “To me, it sounds like he didn’t feel like had to do a resume and my opinion is that every candidate needs to do a resume and that was what the website said. You have got two candidates that have expressed interest and they have jumped through all the hoops and they have done everything they needed to do for a few weeks now. To me, it does not seem up for discussion tonight.”

Bynum said the council should stick to the application requirements it set.
“If you start breaking procedure, you are going to open a can of worms,” he said. “It was clearly stated and he was told that you had to have a resume presented.”

Dew told the board he hadn’t seen the instructions on the town website.

Rhodes said a vote will be held at the council’s regular meeting on Feb. 10. Two candidates — Butler and Harper — will be on the ballot for councilmembers to consider.

In other business, the council approved a contract from A.C. Schultes of Carolina, Inc. $123,460 to drill a 500-foot-deep test well for the town’s drinking water system.

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